This "Cup of Empowerment" has been the most commented and appreciated throughout the years, so I have chosen to repeat it. I have updated the contact information so that you can join us weekly in our International mentoring. With this knowledge, our communities can be changed as well as our nation! Believe with me and join me in this!
"Ping, Ping", came the sound from my Dales Evans pistol that I had when I was 6-years old! I even had the outfit to go with it, as I shot at my 9-year-old brother. But "Monty", as we called him in those days, was not at all happy with my "ping"! He was the one encouraging me to have a gun fight with him! And though he was dressed in his Roy Rogers garb, he was not at all acting like Roy, for Roy would had never shot at Dale!
Monty came back with a mighty "Powwwwwww!", Powwwwww, Powwwwwww!" He then proceeded to teach me the difference between a "ping" and a "Pooooooooooow!" He did not want to be shot at by a tiny "ping" for it was below his dignity!
Interestingly, I knew Dale Evans and Roy Rogers when I lived in California. And let me tell you, Dale certainly was not a "ping" kind of gal! If you know her story, though she was a famous actress, singer and songwriter, she went through a lot of hardships in her life. Her faith made her strong and she could weather many storms! She was a "Powwwwwwww" kind of woman!
Dale was widowed in 1998, and I joined these ranks in 1999. Widowhood by death of spouse is the fastest growing demographic in the world. Then add "divorce, abandonment, or alone by circumstance" and the numbers demand our attention!
You see, the lie to the widow is that it is a "couple's society" and that they do not fit! We might as well stay at home because we do not belong. But in reality, there are more single adults than those who are married.
At least 245 million women around the world have been widowed and more than 115 million of them live in devastating poverty, according to Cherie Blair, wife of the former British prime minister. Cherie has brought much needed attention to this very vulnerable and yet silent population.
In the United States, 80% of all married women will be widowed by the death of their husbands. In 2010 there were 13.6 million widows with 800,000 added to that number yearly.
The Statistics on widows age 65 and over show that five years after they were widowed 9.4% were living below the low-income threshold. Senior widows outnumbered senior men by four to one. This means that 45% of women aged 65 and over are widowed. Widowhood has a direct impact on the standard of living for senior women. This not only affects their lives but that of our community!
Death of a spouse is ranked as the #1 Stressor according to Holmes and Rahe stress scale.
60% of those who lose a spouse or significant other experience a serious illness in the 12 months following that loss. The death of a spouse, for whatever reason, is a significant threat to health and poses a substantial risk of death to the survivor as well.
(Dale passed away two years and 10 months after Roy did. Many die even sooner if there is no since of purpose, leaving the family with added grief.)
On average, 75% of the survivor's support base is lost, including that from family and friends. In a church setting the woman may have sang in the choir, but after her loss, she moves to the second row, then to the back and then out the door without anyone ever noticing! No one knows what to say to her, so they say nothing. It isn't that they don't care, they are not sure what to do or their lives are busy so they do nothing for the hurting widow.
In Jeremiah 29:11 God tells us: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)
These stats are not a surprise to God! He has a plan and it is a good one too!
God has called the church and community to care for the widow in her distress. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27) This is not an option! It is foundational to our lives and community!
When we do what's right, there is great reward for the widow and for us! Deut.14:29 tells us that ALL the works of our hands are blessed when we bless the fatherless and the widow! Everything we do is blessed! You can't get any better than that!
God has great purpose for the widow! In Ex 22:23 we learn God certainly hears their cry! In verses 22 through 24 there is also a strong warning to not take advantage of them! I have seen serious situations happen when the widow has been mistreated. God takes things into His own hands because He is married to the widow! (Isa 54:4-5)
Proverbs 15:25 tells us God will establish the boundary or territory of the widow! Wow! If God hears her prayer as she cries out to Him, and He will establish the territory she has been trusted with, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! Our lives, businesses and families can be changed! Our communities can be safe! Strategies for finances and relationships can come! Addictions can be broken and loved ones set free!
The purpose of the lie that the widow does not fit in or has no reason to live is to keep the widow silent! She thinks she is just a "ping" but she is a "POW!" I believe she is God's secret weapon for the NOW!
So how do we activate this amazing weapon? As a community, we care for the hurting and look for the widow in distress. It is the "religion" (or "worship") God is looking for. This is more important than large buildings and fancy sound systems! He wants us to put action to what we believe! The word translated "look after" means to inspect or look closely. I know of widows without funds eating dog food in order to buy their medication. She will not tell you she is hungry, without utilities or that her family is mistreating her. We need to watch for the signs. Don't assume she will ask for a ride if she is out of gas or the car doesn't run, for she does not want to be a bother! Open her cupboard doors and make sure she has food! Better yet, invite her for dinner or take one to her along with yours, and enjoy it together! God has called us to be her blessing and in turn He blesses everything we do! That's how important it is to Him!
Get her to places where she can learn who she is, be healed and empowered! That's why Anna's Gate was founded. It was the purpose which emerged out of my loss! Based out of Knoxville, Tennessee, Anna's Gate reaches out through weekly teaching and live webcasts. Dr. CarolMarie also reaches across our country and other nations by mentoring leaders on how to activate the widows in their region to bring transformation! Widows are taught how to pray the answer not the problem! They catch the vision of businesses and organizations that partner with Anna's Gate and establish territory for them! In turn, the businesses or individuals financially give to further Anna's Gate.. Anna's Gate gives the missing ingredient, purpose! It turns our "ping" into a "POW!" We are raising up "Wonder Widows" with mighty bazookas!
Connect with Anna's Gate and bless the widow! Visit our group if you are in the area for the 4 PM Tuesday teaching and filming or call the office to see how you can enter the blessing that is yours! Live webcasts (4:30 pm EST) can be seen on my personal Facebook page: CarolMarie Smith. Notes for these teachings can be found on www.drcarolmarie.com. Please know that you are a POW!